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Dr. Shahbaz Shabbir Gill |

Watching Khawaja Asif, recently at the Asia Society in New York, one saw him being humble, using carefully chosen words, with decent language, and expressing his awfully artificial high morals was a disconcerting experience. To the people who don’t know his true face, he sounded like a genuine sane man trying to express his concerns about the domestic and foreign policies of Pakistan.

Is there any institution in Pakistan that can be trusted to offer a counter strategy to punish such behaviors in government officials? Or will this tactic continue being played on the children’s playground and brought to the international system be successful?

‘A bully is a scaredy-cat in reality’, is what I have heard all my life, from my parents and mentors, ever since I was a child. I’ve seen many bullies in my lifetime and fought a few too. To my amazement, one thing I found in all, was that they tended to be weak, insecure individuals. So, it is common to see a transformation of a notorious bully, into a sweet-mouthed imposter oozing out respect and humility in front of the ‘big guys on the playground’.

Read more: Why PMLN and PTI followers despise each other?

Khawaja Asif, the Foreign Minister of Pakistan, was doing exactly this during his presentation at the ‘Asia Society’. It was a stupefying performance by Khawaja Asif- who is generally known to have an aggressive, rough and intimidating demeanor in most situations in order to gain a stronger footing.

Only very recently, he used the derogatory and sexist word for a female representative from the opposition party. While standing on the floor of the Parliament, he mistreated the honor and the dignity of not only Parliament but the female of the opposition party, calling her out as a “tractor-trolley”- to which his party members laughed aloud- just as a bully would do on the playground preying on a victim weaker than himself.

Instead of admitting that Nawaz Sharif has been disqualified on grounds of corruption charges, he maneuvers the discussion towards playing the victim, at the hand of hidden forces

Many in Pakistan know he enjoys his snide and taunting comments in the form of stereotypical and sexist jokes. He often shows his true colors in Parliament with his like-minded party members by entertaining them with monomaniac, chauvinistic, sexist jokes and all the while receiving ovation for his raunchy and erroneous performance.

But he also follows the same strategic maneuvers that his leader, ex-Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, used for his survival in the South Asian political system.

Read more: Sparring between PML-N and PTI continues in the ECP

In one of my earlier articles in GVS, I explained in detail why Nawaz Sharif had aimed to develop close ties with Narendra Modi and many influential Indian people. The answer to this question lies in the fact, that the power of the Indian lobby in the US has expanded immensely in the past few years. Indian lobbyists have been working in the US against the interests of Pakistan.

They are rapidly changing trends of the US foreign policy towards Pakistan and India; giving sterner guidelines to the former while exhibiting a softer corner for the latter. Having assessed the strong influence of the Indian lobby in the US, Nawaz Sharif has placed his bets on Indian support for himself by investing in major business forums in their country. He has managed to earn strong support from the Modi administration and the vast business community of India- as they say, keep your friends close and enemies even closer.

Having assessed the strong influence of the Indian lobby in the US, Nawaz Sharif has placed his bets on Indian support for himself by investing in major business forums in their country

Keeping this in mind, one can easily determine how a puppet of the PML-N would use his official position to mimic the same agenda as that of his leader. Khawaja Asif has done his bit to help manipulate the two major powers that can help his party, and restore Nawaz’ government. This was his clear intention when he stated that his party was penalized and his leader disqualified, due to the close ties with India, as well as alleging that PTI is a religious extremist party.

The former comment is a strategic take of the PML-N party to show their loyalty and level of commitment towards the Indian administration. It also alludes to the fact that the establishment (or Pakistan Army) has penalized them for developing a strong bond with India. Instead of admitting that Nawaz Sharif has been disqualified on grounds of corruption charges, he maneuvers the discussion towards playing the victim, at the hand of hidden forces.

Read more: Faislabad represents an interesting challenge for both PTI and PMLN …!

While standing on the floor of the Parliament, he mistreated the honor and the dignity of not only Parliament but the female of the opposition party, calling her out as a “tractor-trolley”- to which his party members laughed aloud

The comment on PTI being an extremist party is targeting the negative sentiments of the US administration and its people against Muslims and extremism. This serves the purpose of creating a sense of fear in the US administration, lest the opposition party becomes the ruling party in future. It is interesting to note that the ‘so-called’ liberal party, PML- N, has had very close ties with the religious extremist groups working during their current and past tenures.

The question remains, how do we counter these problems in our feudal-minded ruling class of the country? Is there any institution in Pakistan that can be trusted to offer a counter strategy to punish such behaviors in government officials? Or will this tactic continue being played on the children’s playground and brought to the international system be successful?

Dr. Shahbaz Shabbir Gill is a Professor at Institute of South Asia & Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.

Dr. Shahbaz Shabbir Gill is a Professor at Institute of South Asia & Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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